Sticking to a budget can be really important for many people. It will ensure that you will have enough money to pay for everything. Many of us face big bills for all sorts of things such as loan repayments from no credit check loans you’ve take out in the past, rent, utilities and contracts and it can be difficult to change the amount that we pay for these. However, food is something, that although we all need it, it can vary in price. The amount that we buy as well as the cost of those items will buy can vary and so we may be able to change how much we spend. If we want to be careful with the amount of money that we are spending, we might decide that we would like to set a budget. This can help us to restrain our spending and make sure that we do not spend more than we should be. However, it can be difficult to know exactly how much to set the budget at.
Look at what you can afford
To start with, you will need to find out how much you can afford. If you look at how much money you normally spend on all of your essentials and then calculate what you will have left in a typical month, this will allow you to work out how much you have left to pay for things like food. Remember that there will be other things to pay for as well such as clothes, gifts, fuel and travel and other luxuries. Therefore, do not use all of your remaining money to buy food with. Just use some of it so that you have some left for other things.
Look at what you normally spend
Looking at how much you normally spend, both on food and other items should help you a lot. If the plan is to reduce how much you are spending, then knowing what you spend at the moment is really useful. Then you will know where you are starting from and be able to aim for less that this amount. Deciding how much to cut down by can be tricky. It can be worth scrutinising exactly what you are buying to work out whether you can easily cut back.
Consider whether you can cut back
If you only buy basic food, then it may be very difficult for you to cut back. However, most of us do not do this and we buy a big range of food and drink which includes many items that we do not need. It might be that we throw food away, that we buy lots of unnecessary snacks, that we buy drinks which we can go without or that we buy luxury food products that we could replace with more basic things. Many of us, for example, will buy some processed foods and these can often be more expensive than preparing your own.
It might also be the case that you are buying luxury brands or shopping at expensive supermarkets. It is worth comparing prices to see whether you can continue to buy the things that you want and need but without paying out so much money. It will depend on whether other supermarkets stock the products you need and which ones you have based close to where you live or work. If you end up shopping at one further away, remember to factor in the cost of the fuel to get there.
Doing all of this research should help you to decide what to set as a sensible food budget. However, do remain flexible as if you feel that you have set the budget too small and you have money to spare then you may feel you should spend more. However, you might feel that it is a bit high as you can afford lots of treats and so you might decide to reduce it. You will find that there will be certain times of the year when you spend more such as special occasions such as birthdays and Christmas or when the weather is hot and you buy more drinks or cold and you feel like eating bigger portions. This is why it is important to stay flexible and you might want to make sure that you are ready to change your budget if necessary. It might mean that you have to cut back elsewhere and so it could be wise to have an idea of where you might be able to do this. You do not have to cut back immediately but if you are in a situation where you need to, then you will know where you can. This is important as it will mean that you can avoid having to borrow money or dig into your savings which is likely to be something that you will not want to do. If you do end up spending less than your budget it could be wise to put that money into a savings account so that you will have it available to spend if you do have a more expensive month in the future.